Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Interview: Justin P Lambert
I currently have seven published works available, all on Kindle and some in print as well. They include three poetry, essay, and story collections (Sanity is Boring, The Ectopic Epiphany, and Coping With Terminal Stillness); a self-improvement book (Timeless Principles); a long short story (Going Home Alone); a marketing how-to book (The Content Marketing Hurricane); and a children's picture book (Elliot's New Friends).
What genre(s) of book do you write?
So far, I've been all over the map. I enjoy reading in a number of different genres and I like to keep my writing fresh, so I've experimented a lot. My long-term plan includes a lot more fiction including several developing novels, all of which seem to hover in the SF/Fantasy realm, although I'm certainly not going to guarantee that.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I've been writing since I was very young. A lot of poetry and flash fiction, but not much I cared to share with the world back then. A few little bits and pieces stuck around in my journals, though, nagging at me. Also, a catalog of lyrics I'd written while in a rock band between the ages of 16 and 21, which I was particularly proud of and which I thought – looking back on them – made for a pretty transparent look into a young writer coming of age. So, that combination of poems, lyrics, and a tiny bit of autobiography eventually turned into Sanity is Boring, my first published book.
How long did it take you to write “Going Home Alone”?
Going Home Alone was actually on my back burner for quite a while – probably most of a year – before I sat down to really give it a go. I didn't outline it or anything, it was just a vague idea that nagged at me for a while. Then, when I finally sat down to give it a go, it all poured out over the course of a weekend. Kind of like the story the main character writes while he's holed up in a motel in Niagara Falls! The editing and polishing took another day or two, and I finished it just in time for a reading I had scheduled locally, so I tested it out in front of 25 patient people. They liked it.
What is the working title of your next book(s)?
I'm very excited to embark on my first fantasy novel. I'm honestly not sure yet if I'm going to publish it as one long work or break it up into a trilogy, but I've given it the current working title of “The Shirah Chronicles” just because it sounds grand and imposing. :)
When and why did you begin writing?
I've written since I was a child just because it was fun to do. Those large pages of newsprint with a blank spot on the top for a picture and several blank lines underneath for a story were my best friends. I started moonlighting as a freelance commercial writer (copywriting, ghostwriting, and speech writing) back in 2003 and kept that up for several years while working a full-time job and writing my own work for fun. Then, in 2011, when I unexpectedly lost my full-time job, I jumped into full-time freelancing just to pay the bills, and it's exploded since then. My success as a content marketing specialist encouraged me to focus more time and energy into my other writing efforts as well. I do it all because I just love to create things with my mind and make them concrete on paper (or on your screen.)
Do you self publish your books or go through an agency?
I've self-published everything so far and see no reason at this point why I won't continue to do that. I suppose if some agent or publisher comes out of the blue with a beautiful sounding offer, I'd be open to considering it, but I'm comfortable as a self-published author, and the technology available today makes it easier and more fun than ever before.
What part of writing books do you find the hardest?
Two things: just getting started (blank page syndrome), and focused time. Fortunately, I've found little tricks over the years that help me get past the blank page and once I hit my stride, I can write fairly quickly and accurately. The second issue is a much bigger problem for me, primarily because I'm running my freelance business and it involves a lot of time and mental energy that's necessary just to keep the groceries coming in and the rent paid. I struggle with setting aside the time and simultaneously having the energy to focus adequately on my books.
What do you do in your spare time?
I absolutely love to read. It's my number-one leisure activity for sure. I also have a family with two young teenagers that keeps me quite busy. Beyond that, I'm active in volunteer work, enjoy mowing my lawn, am trying to lose weight, and am active on social media.
Who is your favourite author?
All time: Stephen King. He's just so consistently awesome over the course of so many books. Close second: Michael Crichton, godfather of the smart thriller. Most recent: Brandon Sanderson. The Stormlight Archive is such a thoroughly realized world, it makes me storming jealous!
What’s your favourite genre to read?
I love action/adventure/thriller novels that don't rely on extreme violence or ridiculous plots to keep you turning pages. Michael Crichton was usually very good at this, and any author favorably compared to him is on my list to check out. Over the last few years I've developed a taste for high fantasy that wasn't there before, and in turn, I've started moving away from hard SF in favor of more fantasy-related SF titles.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice is trite: just do it. I only say that because analysis paralysis kept me from actually digging my heels in and getting to work for many years. I imagine there are a number of would-be writers out there who are in the same boat. So, to them, I say: write something, make it as good as you can, then send it out into the world in any of a billion possible ways, and get working on the next one.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My entire catalog of poetry, essays, and fiction is available for free for Kindle July 1-5 (THIS WEEK!), my business book will be available for free July 7-11, and my children's book will be available July 14-18. Honest reviews and ratings are greatly appreciated!